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Brief, off-the-cuff, and sometimes light-hearted Catholic commentary, observations and announcements.

Red shoes, the papal apartments, and Petrine authority by Phil Lawler - Apr 1, 2013

Let's see if I understand this correctly: You say you can't respect the authority of Pope Francis because, by not moving quickly into the apostolic palace, he's denigrating the authority of the papacy? So it's the apartments that make the difference?  St. Peter didn't live in the papal...

SNAP praises bishop, defends Church by Phil Lawler - Apr 1, 2013

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has issued a statement praising diocesan bishops who have responded energetically to the sex-abuse crisis, and voicing loyalty to the teachings of the Catholic Church. The SNAP statement said: April Fool! (No such statement has ever been...

The Supreme Court - About to Play God Again? by Chris Pelicano - Mar 27, 2013

Matching Books to Readers, II: Stroik’s The Church Building as a Sacred Place by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 21, 2013

Duncan Stroik has, over the past several decades, led a crusade to restore a sense of the sacred to Church architecture, gradually forcing the Modernists into retreat and establishing a beachhead of spaces clearly set apart for God for the purpose of communicating the mysteries of Faith. A...

Matching Books to Readers, I: Monti’s A Sense of the Sacred by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 21, 2013

Occasionally a truly fine book will come across my desk which deserves to be more widely known, meriting close and enthusiastic reading by a particular Catholic audience, but which simply does not cover a subject in which I have the requisite personal interest. Two perfect examples have...

A 'must' read on a horrifying topic by Phil Lawler - Mar 20, 2013

Mark Steyn’s stinging commentary on the routinized killing at Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic is a “must” read. As Steyn remarks, despite the appalling evidence that has come out during Gosnell's trial—including admissions of deliberate killing, and blood-curdling...

Perceptive commentary: O'Grady, Douthat, Bottum, Allen, Erlandson by Phil Lawler - Mar 18, 2013

The election of Pope Francis produced an explosion of media commentary, and I cannot pretend that I have read more than a small portion of the editorials that appeared immediately after the historic choice of a Pontiff from the New World. But in the past few days a few commentaries have struck me...

Hitler's Pope? The media thought otherwise at the time by Phil Lawler - Mar 18, 2013

The complaints that then-Father Bergoglio once collaborated with a brutal Argentine military regime—complaints that were raised within minutes after his election as Pope Francis—are already collapsing for want of evidence. But don’t assume that the complaints will go away....

When the future Pope spoke about sexual abuse... by Phil Lawler - Mar 15, 2013

When a priest abuses children, the bishop said, “you must never look away.” The priest should be pulled from ministry and subject to prosecution. But should Catholic leaders worry about the potential damage to the Church’s reputation if a priest is exposed to public charges? Would it be better...

Habemus papam! by Chris Pelicano - Mar 14, 2013

Who Is Pope Francis and how is the world responding? (rollup) by Peter Mirus - Mar 14, 2013

Catholics want to know: who is Pope Francis? What are his views and how will he be likely to govern the Church? This is a rollup of news and commentary on CatholicCulture.org that helps build a picture of our new pope, organized in reverse chronological  order. The parenthetical reference...

No restraint is needed? by Chris Pelicano - Mar 13, 2013

This whole process is ridiculous by Phil Lawler - Mar 12, 2013

The doors of the Sistine Chapel close, and Shephard Smith of Fox News tells the world that it’s “ridiculous” to have this sort of secret process in the Twitter era. Thanks for your opinion, Shep. We’ll let you know when we need more of your guidance. Oh, wait; here’s...

Perceptive commentary: Guenois, Lott, Thavis by Phil Lawler - Mar 12, 2013

In the last days and hours before the opening of the conclave this afternoon, a few analysts added useful thoughts about what we should expect—and what we should not expect—during and after the papal election. For those who read French, Jean-Marie Guenois of Le Figaro offers...

Easter: 2012-2013 Liturgical Year Series by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 12, 2013

I’ve just released the fourth volume of our 2012-2013 Liturgical Year Series, which covers Easter. That season begins with the Easter Vigil on March 30th. Currently, of course, we’re in Lent, which is the third volume. These eBooks include all the days of the liturgical...

Vatican cardinals cancel press conference by Chris Pelicano - Mar 8, 2013

Perceptive commentary: Magister, Royal by Phil Lawler - Mar 7, 2013

As a service to our readers, once again we call attention to some of the most interesting commentary that has appeared on other sites regarding the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the prospects for the March conclave. For our efforts to correct some of the less astute commentary, see our...

The role of the press? by Chris Pelicano - Mar 7, 2013

For Lent: Our Inability to Focus on What We Love by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Mar 6, 2013

People could look at my writing, nod wisely, and offer sound advice, like “Don’t quit your day job.” That’s apt, even in the present case, because most of my day is spent on the details of running CatholicCulture.org in a manner that actually keeps it afloat. Many...

Is this an endorsement or a condemnation? by Phil Lawler - Mar 6, 2013

A Boston Globe editorial has endorsed that city’s archbishop, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, as the best candidate for the papacy. The Globe, a paper with a long history of anti-Catholicism, reasons that Cardinal O’Malley would be a good leader for the universal Church because,...

Perceptive commentary: Douthat, Peters, Warren, Guenois by Phil Lawler - Mar 5, 2013

As a service to our readers, once again we call attention to some of the most interesting commentary that has appeared on other sites regarding the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the prospects for the March conclave. For our efforts to correct some of the less astute commentary, see our...

The next Pope won't be another Benedict XVI...or John Paul II by Phil Lawler - Feb 28, 2013

Cardinal Dolan was very perceptive, I think, in his comment that the cardinals need to “work through some grief” before they can concentrate on the task of selecting a new Pope. It will take a few days, at least, to adjust to the reality that Benedict XVI is really gone. One’s first instinct...

CatholicCulture.org on LifeSiteNews by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 28, 2013

We have received some inquiries about my criticism yesterday of the way some Catholic media organizations handled Fr. F. Dariusz Oko’s paper, “Standing with the Pope against Homoheresy” (see The Homosexual Network: News, No News, and Exploitation). The most important question is...

The Homosexual Network: News, No News, and Exploitation by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 27, 2013

A few Catholic organizations are suddenly very excited about “having the goods” on the so-called “gay mafia” within the Church. They seem to believe an epic story has broken, and they are apparently jostling with each other to appear to be the first to convey this momentous...

How many bishops has Pope Benedict persuaded to resign? by Phil Lawler - Feb 26, 2013

If the only news you read comes from popular commentators in the secular media, you might think that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning because he could not make any progress in fighting corruption within the Church. Those who follow Catholic news carefully know better. In our news coverage yesterday...

Perceptive commentary: Zuhlsdorf, Weigel, Quinn, Paprocki by Phil Lawler - Feb 22, 2013

As a service to our readers, once again we call attention to some of the most interesting commentary that has appeared on other sites regarding the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the prospects for the March conclave. For our efforts to correct some of the less astute commentary, see our...

A caution on new reports regarding Peru by Phil Lawler - Feb 20, 2013

Today’s CWN headlines include a report on an intriguing Vatican contretemps regarding the rebellious “Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.” (I use the “scare quotes” because the Vatican has determined the institution does not deserve to be known as either...

Is the Default Position Shifting to Subsidiarity? by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 19, 2013

Not so long ago, most ecclesiastical officials and Catholic academicians emphasized solidarity as a political ideal. Owing to a common misunderstanding of both government and solidarity, that emphasis was almost always at the expense of subsidiarity. In recent years, however, the tide in favor of...

Perceptive Commentary: Warren, Douthat, Henneberger, Horowitz, Oko by Phil Lawler - Feb 18, 2013

Several informative and/or provocative commentaries on the Pope’s resignation and the impending papal conclave appeared over the weekend. There were many inaccurate reports and misleading columns as well, of course. But for now let's call attention to some of the best: ...

Papal health rumors expose more Vatican PR blunders by Phil Lawler - Feb 15, 2013

Since Pope Benedict announced his plans to resign, enterprising reporters—understandably anxious to explore any possible medical explanation—have ferreted out the facts that the Pope had the battery on his pacemaker replaced recently, and hurt his head in a fall during his trip to...

Perceptive Commentary: On the resignation—Bernardo Cervellera, John O'Sullivan, Michael Kelly by Phil Lawler - Feb 14, 2013

Among the scores of editorial commentaries that have appeared since Pope Benedict announced his plans to resign, a handful have been particular insightful. Among the best: ”Benedict XVI’s decision for the Church's mission and the truth of the world.” Father Bernardo...

Religion as Sentiment? Newman Speaks by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 14, 2013

While reading Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski’s Epistemic Authority, I couldn’t help thinking of Blessed John Henry Newman. It was Newman who gave us the most comprehensive description of how the human person legitimately attains certainty, especially in religion. He did this in his seminal...

That's sooooo 1968! by Phil Lawler - Feb 13, 2013

If you read the Daily Telegraph interview with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, you could be forgiven for thinking that contraception is the toughest issue facing the Catholic Church today. I’d phrase the problem somewhat differently. The toughest issue facing the Catholic Church today is the...

The Conclave and the Papal Election: Rollup of All News and Commentary by Dr. Jeff Mirus - Feb 12, 2013

Here is a list of all of our news and commentary on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of his successor, in reverse chronological order. Items marked “Catholic World News” are news stories; items marked with a personal name are commentaries by that...

Junk Reporting on Electing a Pope by Peter Mirus - Feb 11, 2013

Around the news sites and blogosphere, you have begun to see only the first of the many inaccurate, meaningless, irresponsible, and completely misinformed (not to mention heretical, in some cases) reporting on Pope Benedict's resignation and the election of a new pope. Talking heads, so called...

The Tuft-less Titmouse by Chris Pelicano - Feb 11, 2013

How do you know when you are being deceived? It depends, in part, on the nature of the deception. Some deceptions are direct, bold-faced statements or assertions contrary to the truth. Some deceptions are more sins of omission, so-called half-truths, that mislead by appearing to be complete and...

Don't blame Benedict XVI for the sex-abuse scandal by Phil Lawler - Feb 11, 2013

Among the many inaccurate stories that have circulated in the wake of Pope Benedict’s resignation, one in particular should be nipped in the bud. This pontificate has not been scarred by a failure to address the sex-abuse scandal. The claim that Pope Benedict ignored sexual abuse is a...

Who will be the next Pope? Advice for oddsmakers by Phil Lawler - Feb 11, 2013

1. Don’t waste your time reading about the bookies who are already taking bets. The bookies are just trying to stir up a little action. 2. Don’t pay too much attention to the stories in the mainstream press about the “leading candidates,” either. Some offer a...

In India, cardinals praise new book by CWN contributor by Phil Lawler - Feb 11, 2013

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Evangelization, led the chorus of praise for a new book by frequent CWN contributor Anto Akkara. Cardinal Telesphore Toppo referred to the book as “prophetic.” The book, Early Christians of 21st Century, recounts the...

What do you call an ex-Pope? by Phil Lawler - Feb 11, 2013

Among the many questions raised by the resignation of Pope Benedict, this one isn’t in the top 20. But since it has already been asked, and the director of the Vatican press office has admitted that he doesn’t know the answer, let’s give it a moment’s thought: Question:...

Now more than ever, accurate Vatican coverage is essential by Phil Lawler - Feb 11, 2013

Brace yourself for a deluge of inaccurate stories in the mainstream media about the pontificate of Benedict XVI, ill-informed speculation about the papal succession, and generally misleading coverage of Catholic affairs. If you want accurate, reliable information and analysis, stick with Catholic...

RIP Mike Schwartz, happy warrior of the pro-life movement by Phil Lawler - Feb 8, 2013

If you have been active in the American pro-life movement—in any capacity, at any time since 1973—you have been influenced by Mike Schwartz, whether you know it or not. Most of the movement’s leaders are acutely aware of Mike’s influence, and many have paid tribute to him...

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